Beef Tips and Vegetables in Brown Gravy


This is a very simple recipe prepared in a pressure cooker.  A couple years ago an electric pressure cooker was at the top of my Christmas wish list.  For anyone who is a little afraid of using a pressure cooker and has visions of a pressure cooker lid imbedded in the kitchen ceiling, fear not.  They really are very simple and safe to operate.  It’s an appliance I wish I had had when I was still working full time and preparing meals when I got home from work.  Even as a retired person I am not a good advance meal planner.  Five o’clock rolls around and I start thinking about what I’m going to make.  The two primary functions of my microwave are reheating leftovers and defrosting frozen solid meat so I can make dinner.  While it’s not recommended, because of the amount of time necessary to build to full pressure, with a pressure cooker you could actually start with a piece of frozen meat and have a great dinner on the table in less than an hour.  You can brown meat, sauté, simmer and keep your food warm all in one pot.  The pressure cooker makes even inexpensive cuts of meat tender and seems to intensify favors in a very positive way.  Be careful with salt.

I’m hoping that this recipe motivates my good friend who has a spanking new electric pressure cooker (probably still in its original box) to get it out and give it a try.


1 1/2 to 2 pounds of sirloin steak

2 T olive oil

1 large onion rough chopped

2 carrots sliced

2 stalks of celery rough chopped

1 cup baby bellas

3-4 cloves of garlic sliced

2 cups of beef broth (I use better than bouillon)

1/4 cup brandy

1 T Dijon mustard

1 T tomato paste

salt and pepper to taste

2 T room temperature butter

2 T AP flour

1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped

2 green onions sliced


Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium high heat.  Cube the beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the meat to the pressure cooker in batches and brown.  Don’t crowd the meat or it won’t brown properly.  Remove to a plate and continue until all the meat has been browned.

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Add the onion, mushrooms, carrots and celery to the pot.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until tender.

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Add the sliced garlic and brandy.  Cook until the brandy comes to a boil.  Add the mustard and tomato paste to the broth.  Return the meat to the pot and pour in the broth.  Lock the lid in place and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes.

Release the pressure naturally.  Remove the lid, always tilting the lid away from you to allow for any steam to escape.  Bring the sauce to a boil.  In a small bowl whisk together the butter and flour to form a paste and stir it into the sauce.

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Bring back to a boil.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Serve over rice or noodles.  Garnish with the parsley and green onions.



NOTE:  I keep a few staples in my freezer that make spur of the moment food prep easier.  Recipes always call for one or two tablespoons of tomato paste.  You can buy tomato paste in tubes but it is more economical to buy the small cans.  Open one end of the can and put it in the freezer for awhile.  Once it’s frozen open the other end of the can and use the lid to push the tomato paste out.  Slice and put each slice into a snack bag.  Store in your freezer.

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Stuffed Peppers


Stuffed peppers are a perfect winter supper.  A meal in themselves.  Just add a salad and some good crusty bread and serve.   If you look up recipes for stuffed peppers there are all sorts of ethnic variations.  A Spanish stuffed pepper with Manchego cheese, cod and a béchamel sauce. An Indian stuffed pepper with meat, potato, onion, turmeric and coriander.  A Mexican pepper stuffed with cheese, covered in an egg batter and deep fried.  A Finnish stuffed pepper with rice and lamb,  finished with some heavy cream.   The pepper itself is the vehicle and almost any combination of protein, carb, and seasoning can be stuffed inside.  Today I made my peppers with lots of tomato, rice and ground pork.


5-6 red, yellow or orange peppers

1 pound ground pork (or pork sausage)

2 pints of tomatoes

1 cup beef or chicken broth

2 cups rice (cooked)

1 cup red onion diced

1 cup celery diced

tops of peppers diced

2 T olive oil

4-5 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 lemon juiced

1 T oregano

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

1/2  cup fresh parsley


Preheat your oven to 375.

Cut the tops off of the peppers and reserve to use in the filling.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the peppers for 5-6 minutes until tender.  Drain on a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

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Dice the pepper caps, onion, and celery.  Heat 2 T of olive oil in a heavy skillet and sauté the vegetables over medium heat until tender.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.

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Set aside 1/2 of the vegetable mixture to use for the sauce.  Add the ground meat to the skillet and cook until the meat is no longer pink.  After the meat has cooked I put it in a strainer to drain off the fat and then return it to the skillet.

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Add one pint of tomatoes, 1/2 cup of broth, and oregano and cayenne to the meat mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Transfer the meat mixture to a large bowl.  (Or if you are into less dishes use the kettle you parboiled the peppers in.)  Add the 2 cups of rice, 1 cup of cheese, and parsley and stir to combine.  If you feel the mixture needs more moisture add a little more broth.  Set aside while you make the gravy.

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In the skillet combine the reserved vegetables, one pint of tomatoes, 1/2 cup of broth, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickens.  Tranfer the sauce to a food processor or blender and purée.

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Now it’s time to assemble the peppers.  Fill each pepper with the meat and rice mixture and stand up in a casserole dish.  Once you’ve filled the peppers pour the gravy over the top and bake for 45 minutes.


Serve with  extra grated cheese and some good bread.  Enjoy!

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NOTE:  Cooking is limited only by one’s imagination.  This recipe is a perfect example of an opportunity to substitute ingredients based on your family’s personal tastes.  Beef, lamb, turkey or pork.  Rice, quinoa, potato or orzo.  Parsley, basil, cilantro or mint.